The current MOT system is no longer fit for purpose and needs 'significant changes' says MLA

Motorists have run out of patience trying to book an MOT and want a simple solution to the backlog, a local MLA has said.
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Fermanagh & South Tyrone Ulster Unionist Party representative,Tom Elliott, said significant changes are required to the current MOT system in Northern Ireland as is “no longer fit for purpose.”

Mr Elliott said: “Every day, I am contacted by constituents who simply cannot get a MOT appointment before their expiration date. They are often not in a position to monitor the booking website all day for a short notice appointment. This often goes hand in hand with their vehicle tax lapsing forcing them to decide whether to drive without tax, or SORN their vehicle. Either option has a potential to have a massive detrimental impact on an individuals ability to get to work or do basic day to day tasks.

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Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Tom Elliott. Credit: John McVittyFermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Tom Elliott. Credit: John McVitty
Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Tom Elliott. Credit: John McVitty
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“Everywhere else in the United Kingdom, MOT waiting times are measured in hours, in Northern Ireland they are measured in months. This week departmental officials indicated that the waiting time was, on average, 72 days for motorists. This is simply unacceptable and rather than reducing since the end of the COVID pandemic, the problem is actually getting worse.

“I have suggested that when a vehicle is tested at 4 years old, that test could then suffice for two years, another suggestion has been to push back the first time MOT is required until the vehicle five years old. My Party colleague John Stewart has suggested a new hybrid model that would allow car dealerships, for example, to carry out MOT’s on their cars planned for re-sale. This would take thousands of cars out of the system immediately reducing the backlog and ensuring our MOT centres were no longer running to stand still.”

Mr Elliott claimed all of these are practical solutions in an attempt to resolve the current extended delays.

“The reality is that our motorists patience has run out. They want a simple common sense solution that will end the backlog once and for all and I believe the private sector is ready and waiting to start providing the assistance needed to do so. “

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